When the matriarch of a dysfunctional family takes a barrel ride over Ontario's Kakabeka Falls, the rest of the family is stuck watching out for each other, whether they like it or not. It's kind of Canada's answer to Arrested Development – a little woodsier, a little less absurd, and like the show, it's tough to explain, but it's really darn good. A page turner of a family novel (I know, right!?) told in chapters that alternate between people who each want something – anything – other than to help each other out. Katrina wants to quell her anxiety and sell the haunted house that's kept her realty job in a slump. Teenage London is obsessed with a TV marine biologist. Walter just wants to boat out on Lake Superior. The chapters focused on Finn ring especially true – the family pushed her away hard, and she's loathe to come back home, especially because she hasn't quite made it big in Toronto the way everybody thought she would. But here they all are. Somehow, without getting all stupid and mushy, Amy Jones has written a heartstring-tugger about making the best out of life that you can with the people you've already got.— Chris Lee
A family, a barrel, a shark, Finnish pancakes, Canada – perhaps the perfect components for a dysfunctional family novel. At the heart of the story is a mother and two daughters - Finn is the daughter who left the family home in Thunder Bay, Ontario for more glamorous prospects in Toronto while sister Nicki who stayed behind to take care of the family, which might be a bit of an overstatement. Then there’s the brother who works at the restaurant in Little Finland. He’s not really Finnish, but he’s also not really a brother. Walter the father spends all his time on his boats while London, Nicki’s eccentric daughter, wants nothing more than to meet the television scientist who might be coming to town to investigate an elusive lake shark. And their mom? The story opens with Mother Kate having gone over the Falls in a barrel. No, not Niagara Falls, but glorious Kakabeka Falls, just 30 minutes west of town. What was she thinking? It will take about the whole book to find out, because firstly, she's in a coma, and secondly, she's not been thinking that well for a while. There are a lot of messy loose ends and a whole lot of coincidence, but suspension of disbelief is not unheard of for a comic novel. And what a novel it is – hooray for Amy Jones!— Boswell Book Company
Winner of Northern Lit Award
Finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour
Quill & Quire "Books of the Year 2016"
Globe & Mail "Best Canadian Fiction of 2016"
A Penguin Book Club Pick
A woman goes over a waterfall, a video goes viral, a family goes into meltdown -- life is about to get a lot more complicated for the Parker family.
Like all families, the Parkers of Thunder Bay have had their share of complications. But when matriarch Kate Parker miraculously survives plummeting over a waterfall in a barrel -- a feat captured on a video that goes viral -- it's Kate's family who tumbles into chaos under the spotlight. Her prodigal daughter returns to town. Her 16-year-old granddaughter gets caught up in an online relationship with a man she has never met. Her husband sifts through their marriage to search for what sent his wife over the falls. Her adopted son fears losing the only family he's ever known. Then there is Kate, who once made a life-changing choice and now fears her advancing dementia will rob her of memories from when she was most herself. Set over the course of four calamitous days, Amy Jones's big-hearted first novel follows the Parkers' misadventures as catastrophe forces them to do something they never thought possible -- act like a family.
About the Author
AMY JONES won the 2006 CBC Literary Prize for Short Fiction and was a finalist for the 2005 Bronwen Wallace Award. She is a graduate of the Optional Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at UBC, and her fiction has appeared in Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories. Her debut collection of stories, What Boys Like, was the winner of the 2008 Metcalf-Rooke Award and a finalist for the 2010 ReLit Award. Originally from Halifax, she now lives in Thunder Bay, where she is associate editor of The Walleye. The author lives in Toronto, ON.
"In her exploration of family, and the 'many moments that cleave our lives in two,' Jones has created a novel of great psychological insight and a kind of sharp-edged tenderness that revels not in family dysfunction, but in its 'beautiful, crazy chaos.'" —Quill & Quire
"We're All in This Together is a complicated laying of time shifts and perspectives, as each character takes their turn revealing their inner emotional lives and personal history." —Metro News
"Jones has a clean and direct style, with flourishes that keep [the story] interesting and surprising." —Globe & Mail
"The story is so entertaining. At times laugh-out-loud funny, We're All in This Together deftly taps into the fears and failures of all of us." —Toronto Star
Advance Praise for We're All in This Together:
• "Amy Jones has written a stunning tale that reveals not just the cracks in a family's foundation, but the ties that bind them together too. By turns hilarious and melancholy, We're All in This Together is a heartfelt tour de force. Go ahead. Just try to put it down." -- Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plansand Poles Apart
• "Amy Jones makes me laugh. Her captivating book, the entire byzantine history of a modern family distilled into one feverish weekend, will do the same for you. A multi-voiced choir of crazy birds all singing their own tune, We're All in This Together makes real music." -- Marina Endicott, author of Close to Hugh
• "Count the Parkers among the great families in literature. We're All in This Together is a pyrotechnic celebration of the 'crazy chaos' of the modern family that will have you laughing and weeping with recognition on every page. Amy Jones writes with lightning bolt prose and an uncanny insight into the joys, grudges, regrets, and sacrifices that make any family who they are. Behold one of the best young writers in this country working at the top of her game. A bravura performance. I simply could not stop reading this book." -- Michael Christie, author of If I Fall, If I Die